A nation’s healthcare system is paramount to its economic growth and the welfare of its people. India, home to over 1.4 billion individuals, is no exception. The country’s healthcare sector was valued at around $280 billion in 2020 and is projected to cross $543 billion by the end of 2023.
The recent pandemic marked a significant turning point for the Indian healthcare system, leading to increased infrastructure and digitisation. Nevertheless, there is still potential for improvement, notably in the digitisation of medical records. Before delving into the benefits of digitising medical records, it’s essential to understand some basics.
Digital/e-medical records: An introduction
According to the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO/DTR 20514), a digital medical record is a computer-processed repository of an individual’s health information, ensuring secure storage and transmission. These real-time updated records may include a person’s medical history, medications, treatment plans, immunisation dates, allergies, lab test results, and more.
A possible game-changer for India’s healthcare structure
Regrettably, India has been slower than other sectors, such as banking or retail, in adopting digital technologies in healthcare. Fortunately, recent years have witnessed dramatic shifts with the introduction of concepts like telemedicine and AI-assisted surgeries, reflecting a gradual evolution in the country’s healthcare system. However, medical records remain an area in need of attention.
Digitising medical records implies improved accessibility for everyone involved — healthcare authorities, doctors, and most importantly, patients. With internet penetration at an all-time high and increasing smartphone ownership in rural areas, digital medical records facilitate quick accessibility. Enhanced accessibility implies a more efficient system, reducing the waiting time for patients and paperwork for professionals.
Electronic medical records empower healthcare professionals to provide appropriate care to the right individuals at the right time. With physical records and paperwork eliminated, the risk of duplicate screenings and errors can be significantly reduced, leading to accelerated research, effective practices, and superior patient care.
Moreover, a digital system ensures proper maintenance of every individual’s health history, with secure cloud backups mitigating the risk of theft or tampering with confidential information.
For patients, maintaining a digital medical record means better understanding of their health conditions and the ability to seek timely care, especially in emergencies. Today’s digitally literate users typically back up photographs, contacts, and work files, but often overlook the need to do the same for health data.
With over 7800 health-tech startups in the country, India’s healthcare sector is rapidly growing. Today, there are platforms that can help digitise all your medical records and history in a secure, efficient manner. These digitised records will pave the way for a better, more efficient and streamlined healthcare structure across the country, enabling all its citizens to seek quality care at the right time. While there is still a long way to go, collective efforts from government and private entities can help achieve complete digitisation of medical records for every Indian. CXOToday